This was quite possibly the best show on television in the 90s. While admittedly I wasn't watching much other than Boston sports on TV at the time, I was always in my seat in front of the tube at 8:00pm on Saturdays. At a time when family shows were few and far between and the western was long in its grave, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman came seemingly out of nowhere and captivated millions of viewers. The reasons for its success are many. A talented ensemble cast, beautiful cinematography, well-written scripts (until the end-more on that later), a lush soundtrack and gorgeous costumes woven together created a world that it's many fans still long for today.
The premise of the show was unique, if marginally far-fetched. Female doctor seeking acceptance heads west only to find out that the town that hired her thought she was a man and now expects her to go home. Not our heroine! She stayed and we watched along as she suddenly gained a family, slowly became an accepted member of the community, and began to fall in love with the mysterious Sully. The romance was indeed the main hook of the show, but we were also drawn in by the people of Colorado Springs and thier own daily dramas. Part of the appeal was that you came to know and care for these characters. You wanted to tune in to find out if Myra got out of her contract, or if Loren ever got around to telling Dorothy that he loved her. Would racism drive Robert E and Grace out of town? Would Jake ever stop drinking? Yes, the romance was central, but without the town being such a big part of the storylines, I don't think the show would have been such a success. The actors who filled these roles were very talented. No one has to go to bat for Jane Seymour; I'm sure that her name alone got many folks to try it out for the first time, but the talents of the lesser known actors were exceptional. I can't think of one that didn't shine (Many folks didn't care for 3rd season replacement Jessica Bowman, but I have no quarrel there). The pace of the romance was well set. Not too fast, not too slow. Michaela and Sully took just 3 seasons (actually 2.5 as season 1 began in Jan.) to fall in love, court, become engaged and wed. Any longer and some fans might have grown tired of the obstacles that kept coming thier way. Obstacles that provided just the right amount of tension and that were, in fact, quite realistic. Squabbles over money, where to live, and other possible love interests. But they overcame it all and wed in spectacular fashion at the end of season 3. Quinn fans loved Mike and Sully being in love. Despite all that romance, the drama and action did not abate. The versitiliy of the show was amazing. One week funny, the next tragically sad; we remained glued to our sets week in and week out. Unfortunatly, we just weren't the right "we". CBS was looking for that ever sought after demographic of 18-35 year old MALES. In an effort to "bring them in from the garage" the powers that be began to mess with our perfect little show. First, characters began to change and head-shaking storylines appeared. We almost lost Sully to the actor deemed more popular with those men in the garage, John Shnieder. And although Sully remained, as did JS, it changed the feel of the show. We watched and waited, hoping for things to improve and suddenly the show was cancelled without notice.
It has been just over 10 years now since DQ has gone off the air and testament to its popularity is the fact that hundreds of fan sites are still in active existence on the internet. The show remains alive for us forever on DVD (thank God for technology!), but we fans will forever feel that we were cheated out of a quality final season and a real farewell epiosde.